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The New Pope: Blessing or Blunder?

Comments from DW-WORLD readers on the new pope, Benedict XVI, have been pouring in. He's getting mixed reviews. Share your thoughts via e-mail or our readers' forum.

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What kind of pope will he be?

I agree that the new Pope Benedict XVI is the best choice to succeed the late Pope John Paul II to the papacy. The fact that he was the confidante and the right hand of the late Pope, he has already the mastery of the new responsibility bestowed upon him. For sure he shall continue what the late pope has started. They agree on many things and the best test is Pope Benedict XVI can lead. -- Teresa Reyes Albayalde

Yes, I am a Pope Ratzinger fan! I am so excited that we have a pope from Europe. I would also appreciate it if everyone would use his complete name when writing or speaking about him. He is our pope and we need to respect everything about him... his name is not "Ratzi." -- Monka

The cardinal said, "He would rather have a smaller but purer Catholicism." I think without serious reforms he will get his wish. Celibacy must become voluntary for priests, the women of the church must be given a larger role, and marriage must be understood as more than determined by the tribal value of procreation. Love of our fellow man and woman must be paid more than lip service and the historical Jesus who was a poor wandering Jewish rabbi must be more authentically imitated. Benedict XVI is a man like John Paul II filled with the hubris of Romanita. The princes of the church have little in common with the historic prince of peace who had no place to lay his head. -- Emile Piscitelli

Papstwahl - Panorama 02

Marktl children wave small flags as they celebrate in front of Ratzinger's birth place, seen in background, in Marktl, southern Bavaria, Germany

The late President Lyndon Johnson, upon becoming President of the United States, changed from a regional conservative representative to a national social reformer. We can only hope that a similar metamorphosis will occur with the new pope, and that he will understand that this organization which is ruled by a bunch of old men has become somewhat irrelevant as regards the realities of life. -- David Kitten

I can just hope that all the people will support our new pope. As times goes on and changes our thinking, may the church stay consistent, so we have something to measure us against. I am very proud of the choice that 115 Cardinals made. We are quite sure that the new pope is very qualified to step up to his calling. God will guide him, and he us. -- Hilde Gerlach

I am sure Cardinal Ratzinger, now our Pope Benedict XVI will be a good pope for us and for the world. I am from Managua, Nicaragua. I left my country in 1979 in the middle of a civil war where insurgent communists were supported by Fidel Castro. I was 14. Now I live in Caracas, Venezuela and I am a cardiologist and critical care medicine specialist. I followed Cardinal Ratzinger from the 80s when he began to stop the theology of liberation. In Nicaragua there were several "Marxists priests," some in the goverment. Marx is atheism and class fight. Cardinal Ratzinger helped a lot to John Paul II in many ways, specially in the Doctrine of the Faith. He will continue in the same way, of course, with a personal touch. I hope he lives many years more in order to have time to know the people in their countries and vice versa. -- Julian Mayorga

Josef Ratzinger is an excellent selection as Pope. Terms such as "hard-liner" or "enforcer" are misguided. He upholds truth and those who are uncomfortable with the truth resent not only the truth, but also the man who asserts it. I was once disliked by a pupil who wanted the answer to the question selected according to whim. To gain his favor I would have had to recite his referred answer rather than the truth. The defense of truth is what we can expect Josef Ratzinger to do as Pope, just as did his predecessor. -- Ralph Walz

Papstwahl - Panorama 08

Tourists wave the Vatican and German flags as they celebrate in St. Peter's square at the Vatican following the election of the new pope

I feel that the Holy Spirit has put Cardinal Ratzinger in place of Pope John Paul and I have the faith in him as I had in Pope John Paul to continue to lead without bowing to all the negative aspects of leading all those who believe in our Lord Jesus. -- Eddie Gomez

I am not surprised to read mixed reactions on the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as the Holy Father. I could sense that his conservatism towards views that runs counter to the teachings of the Lord is a manifestation of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. But the bottom line is: As Pope Benedict XVI he is installed to serve as our most important mediator with the Lord in the continuous propagation of the Catholic faith that was started even before St. Peter. Above all, we expect him to be our great defender against all people trying to cast doubts on the Catholic faith. I wish that all believers should not look into the personality but to the important position entrusted. -- Ramon Lopez

I am not a Catholic but a Seventh Day Adventist member. I strongly feel that Cardinal Ratzinger nomination as pope is the greatest thing the world has been expecting. He is a man of principles and morals (a person who values life). It's also good that a pope has not come from an African/ Latin American country where corruption and suppression of the poor is at its climax. How can a person who has grown up from a corrupt society avoid practizing it when he is exposed to wealthy? Ratzinger is God's choice and shame to the devil and all those who follow him. -- Charles Vanya, Blantyre , Malawi

Cardinal Ratzinger will be a sane voice, and as Pope Benedict XVI he will be influential, in returning sanity to us, the people. -- Karlheinz A. Halter, USA

When I saw that he was chosen as the new Pope I was dissapointed because I thought it would be a person from Latin America. Then I read on the Internet about him and I think that he is a good choice. -- Mertha Ortiz

No! Insufferably conservative on 'righteous catholic topics,' which with a more liberal contemporary approach, would benefit all mankind. His concern is not with the poor of the church (or the world) but with dominion of the Holy See. A disaster! May he live short. -- Irmgard Chapsky

Papstwahl - Panorama 06

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

I think the new Pope is as expected. Continuity is preserved. Pope Benedict XVI will reign no more than 10 years. He will uphold the teaching of John Paul II. The church often moves slowly. It will be the next pope after Benedict XVI who will deal with the more controversial issues that John Paul II shut the door on. -- Rich Mead

I think it is unfortunate there was not a third world pope. I am also concerned he may be like Pius IX in the later years of his development after the Risorgimento at a time when the church can less afford this. I hope I am wrong, but I think the world needs more a pope like Leo XIII or John XXIII, neither of whom set aside fundamental dogma but both of whom had a sense of the world in which Catholicism had to function. -- Roy Malahowski

I think that this a good choice, I believe it is time that the church had some conservative leaders who teaches on moral and what is right or wrong, people need to lead on someone who can show them the right ways. The church has a role in molding it faithfuls and with the reforms that people are looking for this is uptmosat selfishness on there part, am not Catholic but I think the youth of today needs someone they can count on like they looked upon the late Pope John Paul II who showed them love and comprehension, Ratzinger who worked closely with the late Pope hopefully will follow this footprints. -- Ivy Kinyanjui

There is no doubt in my mind that the selection of Pope Benedict was a mistake. This decision was inappropriate and is a shameful reflection of the limitation of the church in general. The Catholic Church is destined for conservatism. There is no question about this. The question lies in whether or not conservatism was the direction needed taking into account the modern day person.

The decision does not conform to a world of constant moral evolution and change. It does not secure the future of the church in terms of establishing a connection with the common man and his common needs. The result of Pope Benedict's selection will result in a widened gap between older generations and the new generation. I quote from Pope Shenouda III (leader of the Coptic Orthodox church) - 'A church with no youth is a church with no future.' -- Michael Moussa , Australia

As a Catholic from Switzerland I am terribly disappointed at the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger. The Catholic Church is still cultivating its kitsch image of the middle ages, and not moving an ounce on condoms, in the name of absolute truth. The vast majority of Catholics disagree that forbidding the use of condoms has anything to do with absolute truth or goods will anyway. Many more Catholics will leave this church, because they think it is actually disrespecting life. -- Jean-Noel Rey

Once again, the Holy Spirit has inspired the election of a Holy Father who will proclaim that God's will, not ours, be done! -- Ralph Franceschini , USA

Joseph Ratzinger will be a good pope. I am from Malaysia where Catholicism or Christianity is in the minority. But nevertheless, most Catholics in Malaysia are conservative. God has chosen him. We cannot argue with God's decision. I hope he will be as great as John Paul II. -- Dominic Jugah , Malaysia

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